BEST ONLINE BROKER FOR ETF-FOCUSED INVESTORS
WINNER: Charles Schwab
While an ETF issuer can put out great products, ultimately, individual investors, advisors and institutions all interact with ETFs through their brokerage platforms. The best—which this finalist list is—improve on investor outcomes through more than just great execution: They deliver core education, innovative products and alternative services that can make all the difference.
Charles Schwab takes this award for the fourth time, and it’s easy to see why: It covers all the bases. Its commission-free ETF pool now tops 500 products (22 of which are Schwab’s proprietary offerings).
Its automated investment platform now includes free offerings essentially for clients of any size, and a 0.28% “bionic” offering for larger clients that brings a certified financial planner into the mix. For more DIY types (and financial advisors), Schwab offers everything from model portfolios to comprehensive fund-by-fund research.
We’re not 100% sure what comes next for ETF investors—innovation’s hard to predict—but we’re 100% positive that whatever it is, Charles Schwab will be in the middle of it.
BEST ETF ISSUER WEBSITE
BlackRock’s iShares unit continues its winning streak when it comes to Best ETF Issuer Website, claiming the prize for 2018, as it has every year since the ETF.com Awards began. The site has recently undergone a bit of a facelift, and while it’s well-designed and easy to understand, the sheer volume of choices and information on the main page is vast.
At the very top, visitors can select from a fund search, investment ideas from iShares, research under the “Insights” option, educational pieces on investing and ETFs, or the extensive iShares resource library.
However, if investors stick to the main page and continue to scroll down, they can read an article about a highlighted topic or search for a specific fund by name, ticker or product type. There’s also a box to the right that will take you to a screenable list of all of the iShares products; a tool that allows you to compare up to four iShares ETFs; and overviews of key iShares ETF categories.
Scroll down further on the main page, and the Product Offerings section will direct you to the top funds in important product categories. Below that, the News & Events section offers analysis of the global economy. Visitors can continue downward to access iShares’ Education and Resource Library sections.
The site showcases the depth of the iShares lineup as well as the firm’s wide-ranging expertise and data.